Scratching the Can

  • Homemade Vegetable Stock
  • Mexican Cabbage Soup

Everybody loves a nice bowl of soup but most canned soups come with an unhealthy amount of sodium.  The can itself can also be an issue if you are trying to limit your exposure to certain chemicals. These are just two of the reasons that I make a lot of my own soups.

I’ve recently discovered how easy it is to make my own vegetable stock as well so my soups are about as  homemade as you can get.  Here’s how I make the stock and following that you will find a recipe for a Mexican Cabbage Soup I made recently.

Homemade Vegetable Stock

It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to start with canned broth or stock if I’m hoping to avoid sodium and BPA. A money saving bonus here is that I use vegetable scraps that might go down the garbage disposal otherwise.  I just keep a quart size bag in the freezer and any time I cook something with onions, celery, or carrots I save the peels, leafy parts, and scraps in the bag.  When the bag gets full it’s time to make stock.

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I add the contents of the bag and any additional vegetables I need (usually an extra carrot or two since I eat carrot peels) to a stock pot with 8 cups of water. I put in about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, a bay leaf (or two depending on size), and 6-8 whole peppercorns.  Bring the whole thing to a boil over high heat, then turn down the heat so that the contents are just simmering.  Let it simmer for 60-90 minutes or so.

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Set a colander into a large bowl and pour in the stock.  I use a potato masher to press down on the veggies and push out as much of the moisture as I can.  My stock can then go in the refrigerator for a few days or into the freezer if I’m not going to use it right away. Here’s my big bowl of homemade stock.  I usually end up with about 6 cups.

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Mexican Cabbage Soup

EatingWell is one of my favorite recipe sources so when I saw this recipe I had to give it a try.  Between the cabbage and the beans this soup is full of fiber.  The chipotle pepper, spices, and tomato paste give it a nice deep flavor.  I didn’t have any fresh peppers so I used a can of green chiles.

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Fair warning: the chipotles add a lot of heat so go easy if you don’t enjoy that. I mince them them up using one of my favorite kitchen tools; this handy chopper from Pampered Chef.

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The colors of this soup are so pretty if you use the red cabbage and especially if you top it with some cubed avocado (which I recommend because it provides a nice cooling contrast to the chipotle heat!) I also sprinkled on a bit of Mexican enchilada cheese.

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Soup and stocks from scratch are so easy and so healthful.  Why not join me in kicking the can?

 

 

 

 

 

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